Australian Shepherd Color and Size Guide

Australian Shepherds aren’t one-size-fits-all; this attractive breed can be found in a variety of sizes and colors.

Published May 22, 2023
Purebred Australian shepherd sticking out tongue

Aussies are one of the most popular dog breeds, and if you're thinking about getting one, you might be curious about the different types of Australian Shepherds out there. These gorgeous dogs come in four different sizes and a total of 13 different color and pattern combinations. Explore all the Australian Shepherd sizes and appearances before you settle on the perfect Aussie for you.

Australian Shepherd Sizes

Even though you may have only seen them in the standard size - which is the only size recognized by the American Kennel Club - you can find Australian Shepherds in four different sizes: teacup, toy, miniature, and standard.

Australian Shepherd Size Height Weight
Teacup 10 to 13 inches tall 12 to 17 pounds
Toy 12 to 15 inches tall 15 to 25 pounds
Miniature 13 to 17 inches tall 20 to 40 pounds
Standard 18 to 23 inches tall 40 to 60 pounds


The teacup is the smallest type of Australian Shepherd, and as the name implies, these dogs are tiny. Unfortunately, teacup Aussies aren't a recognized breed because they're the result of unethical breeding. Breeders have bred the mini version of the breed down to an unnatural size. These little dogs max out between 12 and 17 pounds and can have health problems due to their small proportions.


Like the teacup Aussie, the toy technically isn't an official Australian Shepherd size. These dogs aren't quite as small as the teacups and reach between 15 and 25 pounds, but they're still much smaller than the standard size. Toy Aussies are a result of breeding smaller minis together to create very small dogs.


Miniature Aussies are actually recognized as a separate breed called the Miniature American Shepherd. However, even though they have a different name, their personality and appearance are nearly identical to their larger cousins. Minis stand between 13 and 17 inches tall and don't weigh more than 40 pounds.


The Australian Shepherd that you're familiar with is the standard size. Standard Aussies stand between 18 to 23 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 40 to 60 pounds.

Australian Shepherd Colors

Australian Shepherds come in four distinct colors, but there are a total of 13 possible color combinations. Some shades are incredibly common, whereas others are harder to find.

2 Border Collie and 2 Australian Shepherds running


Red is probably the rarest Australian Shepherd color you can find. It's sometimes called liver or copper, but it's typically a rich auburn color that makes up the majority of their coat.

Australian Shepherd in a wheat field smiles for the camera


Black is another standard color recognized in Aussies. You'll probably never see an Aussie that's entirely black, but many have this color in combination with white and/or tan.

Black Australian Shepherd puppy

Red Merle

Red merle is recognized as a standard color, although it's technically a pattern. It features small irregular splotches of red on a cream base color. You can find several merle breeds, but unlike most others, it's a naturally occurring coloration in the Aussie breed.

Red merle Australian Shepherd standing on a meadow

Blue Merle

Like red merle, blue merle is an Aussie pattern that has a mottled appearance with random patches of black fur on a light blue base color.

Blue Merle Australian Shepherd
Fast Fact

Of the two merle patterns, blue merle is more common in Australian Shepherds than red merle.


A bicolor Australian Shepherd has a coat that's made up of two different colors: one of the four recognized colors/patterns and white. Usually, white fur is found on their face, chest, belly, legs, and feet. You can find four types of bicolor Aussies:

Black bicolor Australian Shepherd.
  • Red bicolor: red and white
Red bicolor Australian Shepherd.
  • Blue merle bicolor: blue merle and white
Blue merle bicolor Australian Shepherd.
  • Red merle bicolor: red merle and white
Red merle bicolor Australian Shepherd.


Tricolor Aussies are similar to those with bicoloring, except they have three colors. Along with their base color and white markings, they also have tan "points." These are most often patches of tan fur above the eyes, on their cheeks, legs, and belly. There are four tricolor combinations:

  • Black tricolor: black, tan, and white
Black tricolor Australian Shepherd.
  • Red tricolor: red, tan, and white
Red tricolor Australian Shepherd.
  • Blue merle tricolor: blue merle, tan, and white
Blue merle tricolor Australian Shepherd.
  • Red merle tricolor: red merle, tan, and white
Red merle tricolor Australian Shepherd.


Solid white Australian Shepherds exist, but it's not a desirable color. White Aussies have a lot of health problems, including deafness and blindness, due to their genetic makeup. This color is known as a "double merle" and is the result of two merle dogs bred together. Ethical breeders are careful not to allow two merle Aussies to breed.

Which Australian Shepherd Type Is Your Favorite?

Are you most attracted to the red merle coloration? Maybe the small size of the miniature Aussie is the best fit for your home and lifestyle. With so many variations in sizes and different color combinations, you can pick and choose whatever type of Australian Shepherd you like. Which Aussie do you want to take home?

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Australian Shepherd Color and Size Guide